Restaurant Review: Rainforest Cafe in Animal Kingdom (2022)

Do you ever eat at McDonald’s? I probably do that every 10 days or so, even though I know it’s terrible for me.

There’s something to be said for easy decisions, places where you know everyone will agree to go, even if the food’s not great.

Chain restaurants work the same way, as you’re not going to eat the best meal of your life at Applebee’s. If you do, your life is sad.

Still, such eateries earn billions of dollars in revenue each year, which says something about how much we all hate deciding what we want for dinner.

Photo: https://www.facebook.com/applebeesmetairie/

I say all this as a preface to the fact that I recently ate a meal at Walt Disney World that I didn’t expect to like…and I didn’t.

So, who is to blame for that, the restaurant or me? Here’s a review of Rainforest Café.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

About Rainforest Café

Ordinarily, I go into lengthy discussions about the theming of Disney restaurants, presuming that you don’t know anything about them.

With Rainforest Café, you should know the deal. It’s like Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in that if you’ve visited tourist traps over the years, you’ve seen one.

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor.com

You may have even eaten there for the reason I just discussed. These places possess some sort of Pied Piper effect wherein we all want to go.

Not coincidentally, one restaurant group owns Rainforest Café and Bubba Gump, among other chains plus a few standalone places you might know.

I’m speaking of Landry’s, Inc., which also owns and operates T-REX and Yak & Yeti Café at Walt Disney World.

However, Rainforest Café comes with the strongest brand awareness to the point that Walt Disney World hosts two of them.

(Video) Rain Forest Cafe At Disneys Animal Kingdom Dining Review

You’ll find one at Disney Springs, and it’s hard to miss since it has a volcano on the top of the building!

The other restaurant is impossible to miss, as it’s right by the front gate at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. And that’s where we dined on this particular day.

Photo: Rainforest Cafe

Check-In Process and Getting Seated

I’ll preface this with some insight into our day. Animal Kingdom wasn’t crowded on this particular day, which worked out perfectly for us.

So, we were on top of the world by the time we sat down for lunch. I mean, we’d already ridden Avatar Flight of Passage, Na’Vi River Journey, AND Kilimanjaro Safaris.

(Kent Phillips, photographer)

After watching all the animals, I guess we were ready to study some fish in the aquariums at Rainforest Café.

We circled back to the front of the park, where we knew that the restaurant offered immediate seating.

Plus, my wife and I genuinely revel in those opportunities where we can be shameless tourists.

As one of my favorite authors, John Scalzi, once described it, we’re the “most touristy tourists who ever touristed.”

Tourists. pic.twitter.com/Tik7LzOa5l

— John Scalzi (@scalzi) February 16, 2017

Folks, I’m here to tell you that there is NOTHING more touristy at Walt Disney World than Rainforest Café…except maybe T-REX.

As such, I can spoil this review for you right now and say that you should always pick T-REX. It’s just plain better.

Photo: MickeyTravels

Our check-in experience utilized the new system wherein we did online check-in, which took maybe 15 seconds.

Nobody else was waiting to be seated, and this cavernous restaurant had plenty of open tables.

(Video) Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom | Dining Review

A kindly hostess rushed us to our table, taking the time to compliment my wife on her (admittedly awesome) WandaVision shirt.

Moments later, our server had our drinks sitting on our table. No matter what else I’m about to say, let me stress that the service here was PHENOMENAL.

My only regret involved our table, which wasn’t right by any of the ample number of aquariums.

Still, the ambiance here is pretty terrific no matter where your table is.

The Dining Experience

I often recommend third-party restaurants at Walt Disney World to friends, especially when they’re traveling in large parties.

One of the underrated secrets about Disney dining circles back to the tourist nature of the restaurants.

Image Credit: Disney/Landry’s

Third-party vendors cannot rely on Disney branding or theming. As such, their menus must appeal to the most people possible.

So, everyone will find something to eat at Rainforest Café. No, it won’t tickle your tastebuds, but there’s undoubtedly something on the menu you’ll eat.

Credit: www.exploringdisney.com

This particular restaurant offers 18 (!) different appetizers, soups, and salads on the menu. That’s a lot of shareable options.

As for the entrees, I count 24 of them, not including the soups and salads. You could eat here at lunch for an entire month and never have the same thing.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

Even the kids’ menu comes with variety, with ten different entrees, some of which are a bit more daring.

Of course, that strategy makes sense, given that Rainforest Café caters to kids more than adults.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

(Video) DINING REVIEW: Rain Forest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Appetizers, Entrees, and Dessert

As a sucker for cheese sticks, I always order them whenever I can while on vacation. I’m walking enough at Disney that I’ll burn off the calories.

This particular appetizer seems pricey at $12 (50 percent more than I usually pay locally). Still, it was also one of the two highlights of my meal.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

As far as cheese sticks go, they were, you know, fried cheese. Because I’m gross, I dip them in ketchup, and then I’m happy.

These cheese sticks were nothing special, but I devoured them anyway. Dear Disney: please add fried mozzarella as an appetizer at more of your restaurants!

After debating some other options at the surprisingly vegetarian-friendly eatery, my wife settled on the Beyond Burger.

The phrase “the worst one I’ve ever had” was tossed around. In fact, she felt ill soon afterward, which didn’t seem coincidental.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

The Iggy’s Piggy Sandwich ingredients weren’t available this day (supply issues have plagued Disney over the past 12 months).

So, I settled for the Mojo Bones, which is a half-rack of St. Louis ribs. The phrase, “How did they mess up BBQ ribs?” got tossed around.

At least I didn’t get sick immediately afterward.

Frustrated by our meal, we did try the Key Lime Pie for dessert, but my wife had turned on the place by then.

I thought it tasted perfectly fine. Still, the dessert seemed quite bland given that I’m a superfan of Key Lime Pie as a rule.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

Overall, nothing hit right for us during this entire meal.

(Video) Breakfast at Rainforest Cafe | Disney's Animal Kingdom | Dining Review | Vacation Pete Reports

Final Thoughts

We could have titled this lunch “Living with Regret: An Afternoon at Rainforest Café.”

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

While the service impressed us and the cast members were kindly, the cuisine reminded me why I rarely eat at places like TGI Fridays.

Bland food is problematic on its own. But, when you’re paying $90 for two people, well, fool me once…

Seriously, we chose Rainforest Café at Animal Kingdom for the same reason that everyone else does.

The convenience is inimitable, and seeing the restaurant at the start of the day kinda plants the seed of the idea in your head.

When lunch or dinner rolls around, you cannot help but think about the place you saw as you entered the park.

Photo: Facebook/Rainforest Cafe

Plus, if you’re leaving afterward, you’ll be right at the front gate after the meal, a definite bonus.

Alas, the food here tastes like something a first-time chef would cook when trying but failing to impress a date.

Photo: Instagram/lo_mac13

Even worse, the pricing reflects the fact that Rainforest Café is a recognizable brand in thriving tourist traps.

So, you pay thriving tourist trap pricing. I could have gotten better cuisine at Flame Tree BBQ for half the price…or less.

I know that we all love the aquarium backdrop at Rainforest Café. Still, the meal will punish you for choosing theming over flavors.

This was legitimately one of the worst meals we’ve ever had at Disney. We regretted everything…except the cheese sticks.

Feature Image: Mealtrip.com

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FAQs

Is Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom owned by Disney? ›

The Rainforest Cafe is part of the Landry's chain of restaurants. There are 32 locations including 2 in Walt Disney World. One here in Animal Kingdom and one at Disney Springs.

Do you have to leave animal kingdom to eat at Rainforest Cafe? ›

Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park and eating at the Rainforest Cafe!! You will not need to exit the park in order to get to your dining reservation. The restaurant is accessible from inside the park or from just outside the Main Entrance if you do not have a theme park ticket.

What's special about Rainforest Cafe? ›

Rainforest Cafe serves typical American chain restaurant fare, such as burgers, chicken, pastas, and seafood, with the addition of some Mexican food to reflect the tropical theme. Their signature dessert, called a volcano, consists of brownie and ice cream topped with a lit sparkler.

Does Rainforest Cafe have characters? ›

Unfortunately, neither the Rainforest Cafe® at Disney's Animal Kingdom nor the Rainforest Cafe® at Disney Springs Marketplace offer Character Dining. That being said, there are several fantastic Theme Park Character Dining as well as Resort Hotel Character Dining opportunities you might enjoy.

How often does it storm at Rainforest Cafe? ›

How often does it Thunderstorm? There is a tropical thunderstorm every 22 minutes in the Rainforest Cafe. What is the favorite menu item? Depending on your taste buds the Rainforest Cafe restaurant menu will have a favorite menu item for you!

Why is Rainforest Cafe closing? ›

When Disney announced the closures of the Rainforest Cafe in 2018, along with the nearby AMC Theatre and ESPN Zone, the plan was to use that space to create a Disney-owned, 700-room hotel. But after a protracted conflict with the city of Anaheim over proposed tax subsidies, Disney decided to cancel the hotel project.

Can you eat at Rainforest Cafe without a Disney ticket? ›

Since the restaurant is outside of the entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom you won't need a park ticket or a theme park reservation to enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at this whimsical restaurant with animatronic animals, tropical thunderstorms, and beautiful aquariums.

Does it still rain in Rainforest Cafe? ›

2 – It's a Jungle Out There

Lush greenery, fish tanks, animatronic gorillas, elephants, monkeys, and more! Where else can you dine that has a rainstorm every 30 minutes? The lights flash representing lightning, you'll hear thunder, see rain, and the animals will go crazy with excitement!

Where do you park for the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom? ›

If you are driving to your meal at Rainforest Café, the easiest option is to park at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. The restaurant is right outside the Main Entrance to the Park and easily accessible from the parking lot.

What does Rainforest Cafe smell like? ›

A little floral, a tad citrusy, a Rainforest Cafe scent that almost certainly smells much nicer than a real rainforest does. "Part of the Rainforest Cafe concept is the five senses," says Ercu Ucan, the Minneapolis-based company's senior vice president for retail.

Where is the biggest Rainforest Cafe? ›

Largest Rainforest Cafe in the world! - Review of Rainforest Cafe, Orlando, FL - Tripadvisor.

How many Rainforest Cafes exist? ›

There are a total of 16 rainforestcafe locations in United States as of April 21, 2021 The state with the most number of Rainforest Cafe locations in the United States is Lake Buena Vista with 2 locations, which is 13% of all rainforestcafe locations in United States.

When did the Rainforest Cafe close? ›

Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney expected to close this Sunday, June 17.

Where is the rainforest? ›

Rainforests thrive on every continent except Antarctica. The largest rainforests on Earth surround the Amazon River in South America and the Congo River in Africa. The tropical islands of Southeast Asia and parts of Australia support dense rainforest habitats.

When did Rainforest Cafe close in Downtown Disney? ›

After closing in June of 2018, Rainforest Cafe expressed interest in returning to Disneyland Resort. It initially closed while Disney was planning a new four-star luxury hotel in the location.

How much is the volcano at Rainforest Cafe? ›

Sparkling Volcano - $14.99 - Picture of Rainforest Cafe, Atlantic City.

How often does the volcano erupt at Rainforest Cafe? ›

The Erupting Volcano

Our mountain spews an eye-catching display of fire and smoke approximately every 30 minutes.

How much does it cost to open a Rainforest Cafe? ›

Costs ranged from $7 million for a mall-based unit to $16.5 million for a major tourist site. Rainforest Cafe was not alone in its earnings woes in 1997. Publicly traded Planet Hollywood stock nose-dived when they reported fourth quarter losses of $44 million.

Is Rainforest Cafe coming back to Downtown Disney? ›

Rainforest Cafe at the Disneyland Resort closed June 30, 2018, to make room for a fourth on-site Disney hotel. Construction was supposed to begin July 2018 for a 2021 opening.

How many Rainforest Cafes are in Canada? ›

Today, there is only one Rainforest Cafe operating in Canada, located in Niagara Falls.

What happened to Rainforest Cafe in Chicago? ›

Rainforest Cafe took down its sign last weekend, and it will move out by the end of August, Conlon said. “It's tough enough to be a restaurant in Chicago with the pandemic, but it's even harder with all the looting,” Conlon said. “They were already on the way out, and I think recent events compounded it.”

How many Rainforest Cafes are at Disney World? ›

The Walt Disney World Resort is home to two Rainforest Cafe locations. One can be found at Disney Springs and the other is just outside the gate of Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Can you eat at Animal Kingdom without a ticket? ›

In order to eat in any of the parks, you must have a valid park ticket. This is true for every park at Disney World, not just Epcot. There is one exception to the “you must have a ticket to dine inside a park” rule: The Rainforest Café at Animal Kingdom.

How do you make reservations at Trex Cafe? ›

Advance reservations are highly recommended. Learn when advance reservations can be made. To make a reservation, book online or call (407) 828-8739. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Do you have to pay for parking at Rainforest Cafe Animal Kingdom? ›

Here is a park GuideMap so you can see exactly where the restaurant is located - at (2) on the map. Anyone wishing to use the parking lot at Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park will be required to pay the parking fee.

Can you use Disney gift cards at Rainforest Cafe? ›

This scrumptious Safari of flavor is a family-friendly meal you'll savor! Disney Gift Cards are currently accepted at Rainforest Cafe®. Some Disney Dining Plans are also accepted! So make your reservations and plan for a spectacular experience!

What time are Disney fireworks? ›

Magic Kingdom's nightly fireworks usually begin at 9pm, but check the schedule to be sure. Please note that parking at Disney's resort hotels is officially for guests with hotel and dining reservations only.

Is there a Rainforest Cafe in Virginia? ›

The first Rainforest Cafe opened in 1994 in the Mall of America in Minneapolis. Today, the chain includes restaurants at Walt Disney World and Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and Piccadilly Circus in London. There's one other in Virginia, at Tyson's Corner in McLean.

When was the first Rainforest Cafe opened? ›

What animal lives in a rainforest? ›

Rainforest animals include mammals such as sloths, tapirs, jaguars, tigers, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and orangutans; reptiles such as caimans and the green anaconda; amphibians such as poison dart frogs and the red-eyed tree frog; and birds such as toucans, macaws and the harpy eagle.

How many rainforest are there? ›

There are only seven temperate rainforests in the world.

The Pacific Temperate Rainforest is the biggest of these. It stretches for 23,300 square miles across North America, encompassing the Tongass National Forest and the Great Bear Rainforest.

Are all Rainforest Cafes the same? ›

Nothing, it is a franchise and they are both the same.

Does Bugaboo Creek still exist? ›

Following the bankruptcy, the chain began moving away from the talking animals, shutting down their animatronics while still leaving them up on the walls. On June 29, 2016, the chain completely closed its doors worldwide.

Why is a rainforest so called? ›

Answer. Explanation: The reason it is called a "rain" forest is because of the high amount of rainfall it gets per year. Rainforests have an annual rainfall of at least 100 inches (254 centimeters) and often much more.

What did they replace the Rainforest Cafe with in Downtown Disney? ›

Disneyland Permanently Replacing Rainforest Café Location With Star Wars Trading Post Store at Downtown Disney.

Why Is Earl of Sandwich closed Downtown Disney? ›

Earl of Sandwich, Sugarboo & Co., and Starbucks at Downtown Disney District to Close in January 2022. Today at Destination D23, a new project for the Downtown Disney District was announced. The former AMC Theater will be removed to make way for a new green space plus reimagined shopping and dining.

What's the new name for Downtown Disney? ›

It's Official – 'Downtown Disney' is Now 'Disney Springs' at Walt Disney World Resort. Over the last several weeks, “Disney Springs” has started to replace “Downtown Disney” on roadway signage and throughout property. Today, I'm thrilled to share that the name change is official!

Can you use Disney gift cards at Rainforest Cafe? ›

This scrumptious Safari of flavor is a family-friendly meal you'll savor! Disney Gift Cards are currently accepted at Rainforest Cafe®. Some Disney Dining Plans are also accepted! So make your reservations and plan for a spectacular experience!

Do you need a park ticket for Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom? ›

You will not need a theme park ticket to enjoy a meal at the Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal Kingdom because the actual entrance to the restaurant is located just before the main entrance of Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Do you need a park reservation for Rainforest Cafe? ›

No need to obtain a park ticket to dine at this location. The Disney Springs location has an especially awesome lounge called the “Lava Lounge”.

Is the Rainforest Cafe in Disneyland? ›

You're at the Rainforest Cafe at the Downtown Disney District of the Disneyland Resort. You have a lot of restaurants to choose from, all with impressive interiors and extensive menus.

Where do you park for the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom? ›

If you are driving to your meal at Rainforest Café, the easiest option is to park at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park. The restaurant is right outside the Main Entrance to the Park and easily accessible from the parking lot.

Can Rainforest Cafe Gift Cards be used at T Rex? ›

T-REX Restaurant and Rainforest Cafe are included in the Landry's family, and your gift cards should be welcomed at both. Disney Gift Cards are also an acceptable form of payment at both restaurants. My family loves eating at Rainforest Cafe!

Can I use Morton's gift card at Rainforest Cafe? ›

Please note that the following locations do not currently accept Gift Cards: All Landry's airport locations, Morton's Grille in Niagara Falls, Rainforest Café in Niagara Falls, Build-A-Dino at T-Rex, Morton's the Steakhouse in Saratoga Springs and All international franchise locations.

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